Joseph N. Brancato, 97, a former vice principal at South Philadelphia High School and versatile athlete who once held a collegiate record in rope climbing, 20 feet in 3.9 seconds, died Thursday, Dec., 27, at a Delaware County retirement community.
Dr. Brancato graduated from South Philadelphia High School, earned bachelor's and master's degrees at Temple University, and completed his Ph.D. in physical education at Pennsylvania State University.
Though he lived most of his adult life in Morton, he was the last surviving of seven Brancato siblings from South Philadelphia.
Brother Mike sold suits at Gimbels. Brother Dom worked at the Navy yard for 52 years. Brother Al, who died in June at 93, played shortstop for the Philadelphia Athletics. The eldest, Anne Brancato Wood, became the first Democratic woman to serve in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, according to a nephew, Albert Brancato.